The City Bikes program in Copenhagen began in 1995 as a public-private collaboration to provide free bicycles for tourists and residents in the inner city of Copenhagen. It was the first program of its kind, and other places have adopted this program in order to promote cycling in their cities. City Bikes have added to Copenhagen’s cycling identity, due to the fact that it promotes the image of Copenhagen as an environmentally conscious and bicycle-friendly city.
Initially, there were 700 bikes at 120 cycle racks, and today there are over 2,000 bicycles in use during City Bike season (mid April to November). The use of the city bikes is limited to the designated city bike zone in central Copenhagen.
Several visitors that we have come in contact with seemed confused by the system. The City Bikes are a great way to travel around the city, simply because the system works, and it is free.
Here is a quick guide to how to use the City Bikes.
First, locate a rack with a bike attached to it. They tend to be in high traffic locations, so look for them near the train stations, parks, and museums. Be on the lookout for a rack with chains and bikes attached to them.
You must unlock the bike with a 20kr coin, but you’ll get the coin back when you return the bike. A bike for 20kr? Not a bad deal.
Before taking out the bike, check out the bike and make sure the tires are filled, the wheels are affixed to the bike, and the frame isn’t bent.
When you are ready to proceed, insert the 20kr coin into the bottom of the black contraption attached to the handle bar post. The idea is to pop out the metal clip that is keeping the bike locked up, depending on the condition of the bike, you might have to push or wiggle the coin a bit.
Once the metal clip pops out, the bike is yours!
City Bike has been freed! Before you head out make note of the boundaries that you are allowed to ride in, it is on display on the map mounted on the bike.
When you return to a bike stand, insert the metal clip and retrieve your 20 kr.
Bike return in action!